DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Blade 2" (Highly Recommended) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein

    Blade 2

    Studio: New Line
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 117 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

    The Dark Knight Returns
    Are you ready? I mean, are your really ready?
    Because Blade 2 is going to pack more punch
    in your system than any other DVD that has come
    before it. I'll give you all the details in a moment.
    In case you don't know it already, Blade
    (Wesley Snipes) is half-Human half-Vampire. He
    hunts the vampires, and is known as known as
    'The Daywalker', as he has all of their strengths
    and none of their weaknesses. All of this is
    quickly reviewed via flashbacks during the film's
    opening moments.
    When we last left Blade, Whistler (Kris
    Kristofferson), had been bitten by a vampire and
    left to live to become a vampire himself. Blade
    couldn't bring himself to kill Whistler, so he
    left Whistler a gun. The last thing we heard was a
    single gunshot.
    Well, apparently, Whistler hadn't succeeded in
    suicide. After Blade rescues Whistler, they return
    to find their lair infiltrated by two highly
    trained vampire assassins, Nyssa (Leonor Varela)
    and Asad (Danny John-Jules). They bring a message
    from the vampire high council who wishes to offer
    Blade a temporary truce in order to fight a greater
    Blade meets with the vampire council and learns
    of a new breed of Vampires called Reapers, the
    product of the mutated Vampire virus. It's leader
    is Jared Nomack (Luke Goss), and he's out to destroy
    the entire vampire race. The Reapers are spreading
    quickly and the vampire high council wants Blade
    to head up an elite fighting team to erase the
    Reapers. Blade has little choice but to join the
    'Bloodpack' of vampires (originally trained to
    kill him), in order to erase the Reapers.
    Blade 2 takes everything from the first
    film and puts it in higher gear with some of the
    most intense and well-choreographed martial-arts
    action (staged by Donnie Yen) seen in film to date.
    It also qualifies as the gross-out movie of the year.
    The only problem I had with the film was that there
    was too much emphasis put on the fight sequences
    that seem to go on forever.
    How is the transfer?
    DVD has a new standard.
    Filled with wonderfully warm red and blue filtered
    colors, this transfer can't be beat! With incredible
    sharp detail and solid blacks, Blade 2 looks
    tremendously smooth and film-like. With most of
    the action taking place in the dark underworld
    sewers of the city, one would expect the introduction
    of film grain or other transfer flaws. Well, there
    are no flaws. Even in the darker scenes, picture
    level remains well balanced with no hint of grain.
    The 6.1 DTS audio track is unlike anything you
    have experienced before. It will totally immerse
    you into the underworld, bringing you smack in the
    middle of sound that not only encircles you, but
    makes you feel part of the action. I have yet to
    hear a mix that is so heart-poundingly aggressive.
    From the moment the film begins, the entire sound
    field comes to life with the rumblings of trains
    inside a Prague station. Before long, bullets
    begin to fly everywhere, whizzing past your head,
    as Blade makes mincemeat of vampires. The guts
    of the vampires, like thrown Jello, can be
    distinctively heard as they pass through each
    channel. The LFE channel packs every bullet hit
    with pounding blows to the subwoofer. Nail
    everything you have down, because the LFE response
    is absolutely incredible from start to finish.
    Special Features
    As part of New Line's highly touted Platinum
    , Blade 2 is released in a deluxe
    2-disc set that isn't stingy on supplemental material.
    Disc One contains the film which can be
    played with your choice of two audio commentaries.
    The first is with Director Guillermo Del Toro and
    Producer Peter Frankfurt. The second is with Writer
    David Goyer and Wesley Snipes.
    Disc Two contains the Special Features
    that are divided into three main categories:
    Production Workshop; Deleted and Alternative
    and Promotional Material.
    Let us start with Production Workshop...
    The Blood Pack is an 83 minute documentary
    on the making of the film. It ranges from production
    design to costume to choreography to music. While
    watching this documentary, a "glyph" icon will appear
    that will take you into additional material via
    branching. When that branched material is complete,
    you are returned to the point of the documentary you
    left off at.
    Instead of watching the entire documentary, I
    concentrated on Chapter 5, which dealt with the
    design of the creatures. Director Guillermo del
    Toro talks about the earliest designs for the Reaper
    creatures and how these creatures evolved using
    the features of other blood-sucking animals. We
    get to take a look at some of the live actor makeup
    tests as well as the many clay designs used for
    each stage of mouth and jaw movement. Puppets
    were even used for the Reaper attacks, and you'll
    be amazed the first time you see one of these
    realistic puppets in action. This is one of the
    most thorough looks at creature designing I have
    seen on any DVD to date.
    Sequence Breakdowns is absolutely amazing.
    Here New Line takes 5 of the best sequences from
    the film and dissects the living crap out of it
    by letting you first read the script as it was
    written by David Goyer, then read it as the final
    shooting script, then watch storyboard and visual
    effects sheets map it all out, and then see the
    action that took place on the set. Put it all
    together and end it by watching the scene as it
    appeared in the final film. For anyone interested
    in how film is made from start to finish ought to
    take great interest in this segment.
    Visual Effects begins with Synthetic
    Stuntmen The Digital Maw
    which takes you
    through the CGI and digital maw process. Through
    the film dailies, we watch as how scenes are
    originally safely performed and filmed before
    they go for CGI touch up. A montage from the
    Tippet Studio shows exactly where live action
    and CGI animation meet. In Progress Reports,
    we watch the many videotape shorts that Makeup
    Designer Steve Johnson sent Director Guillermo
    to keep him apprised of his progress. From the
    creation of embryos to a Dummy Whistler to
    Reaper's heads, this progress report is a
    fascinating journey through the creative process.
    The Art Gallery is filled with dozens of
    photos that are broken down into categories of
    Sequence Concepts, Props & Weapons, Costume
    Design, Set Design, Character Design
    There are two Notebooks included here.
    The first is Director Guillermo's diary that
    contains his personal ideas and thoughts that
    are written down during the filming. A video
    introduction from the Director warns that you
    may be surprised what you read here, as these
    notes are really personal. Using your remote
    you can browse through the pages of text that
    are often hard to read (don't even know if it's
    English), but supplemented with some really neat
    drawings. The Script Supervisor's Notebook
    is a more interesting layout of text and Polaroid
    photos which chronicle the making of the film.
    Finally, there are three sections of unfilmed
    script pages, including one of a scene that
    takes place at a mini-Mart.
    Now let's take a look at Deleted and Alternate
    It's always funny to watch a video introduction
    by a Director that refers to his deleted scenes
    as "crap." Here for your viewing pleasure is
    no less than 16 scenes of crap that never made it
    to the final cut. Combined, there is about 25
    minutes worth of material here presented in
    finalized widescreen glory. You can opt to watch
    these scenes with or without Director and Producer
    Finally we come to Promotional Material...
    Blade II Video Game Survival Guide is
    nothing more than a 2+ minute commercial for the
    Playstation & X-Box video game, walking you through
    different levels and giving you tips on difficult
    The Theatrical Press Kit shows you how
    the film was promoted to distributors worldwide.
    There are pages of text that take you through the
    cast, filmakers and production.
    The film's original theatrical trailer is
    included as well as the short teaser trailer.
    Finally, we get the film's music video that
    features Cypress Hill and Roni Size in Child of
    the Wild West
    A CD-Rom application let's you read the
    film's script alongside the movie itself. There
    is also access to the film's website that allows
    you to download screensavers, desktops and icons.
    You can also look at video footage exclusive to
    the website, or, take part in the message board.
    Final Thoughts
    New Line once again keeps up its highest standards
    that consist of quality transfer and abundant
    supplements. You can literally spend hours going
    through the supplemental disc which leaves no
    stone unturned.
    When one considers the cost of paying up to $45
    to go to a theme park and experiencing ride
    sensations not found anywhere else, consider the
    fact that for less than $25, you can have the ride
    of your life in front of your home theater.
    Blade 2 offers a visual and sonic experience
    like no other DVD I have seen. Stick in the disc
    and crank up your system to enjoy a ride like no
    Release Date: September 3, 2002
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
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    Nice! Thanks for the advance look.

    I had the pleasure of spending some time with Guillermo Del Toro when he was a guest of honor at the Lake Placid Film Forum back in June. He was one of the most down-to-earth filmmakers I've ever met and was genuinely happy to talk to people. I asked him about the Blade II DVD and he told me that it would knock people out - sounds like he was right!
  3. Lowell_B

    Lowell_B Second Unit

    Dec 3, 2001
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    Thanks for the review. I wasn't able to catch this one in theaters, good thing the DVD looks so great.
    August 20th can't come soon enough. [​IMG]
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

    Feb 24, 2000
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    Ron - Sounds like you were a little impressed with this disc? Thanks for the review. Looks like I'll be adding another hole in my wallet. [​IMG]
    As an aside, it would be nice if you either posted a spoiler notice at the top of the review or omitted the last screenshot of the Reaper in action. I didn't see Blade II in the theater and had no idea of how the Reapers "worked". Now I do - before I've seen the film.
  5. George See

    George See Second Unit

    Jul 14, 2002
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    Yeah thanks alot you've just made august 20th seem 1000 years away. I can't wait for this disc I saw the movie in A great theater And one of the first things I was thinking was If they do it right the DVD is going to sound awesome.
    At this point I think i'm looking forward to this more than LOTR.
    Great review thanks for the sneak peak.
  6. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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    I caught this one in the theater. While it wasn't MY idea of a "must-own" movie, my 10 yr old son just loved it "even better than the first". I thought that most of the action sequences were too dark and too cropped, making it difficult to see what was happening.

    However, I'm sure this title will be thrust in my hands before I make it to the register on August 20th. Since we already own the original "Blade" (which I thought was a superior movie), this one will have a place in our collection - if for nothing other than the sound experience.

    I smell a "Blade III" just around the corner....
  7. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

    May 10, 2001
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    Thanks Ron, but may I suggest changing the final image? Not because it's offensive or anything, but just because I think people who haven't seen the film should not see that mouth effect before they watch the film. [​IMG]
  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Oct 31, 1997
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    Excellent review! I'm all over this one. Looks like August is going to be an expensive month for me...
  9. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

    Jan 1, 2002
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    Now I really cant wate to get this into my collection.
    I'm really glad to see they made this one a DTS ES title,now if they could just redo the first blade in DTS ES too I would be in candy land[​IMG]
  10. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

    Jun 13, 2002
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    Sounds like a killer DVD![​IMG] And as for that last image, I was already spoiled by how the Reapers work when I decided to watch an episode of AMC's Cinema Secrets. But it is spoiler material and is played to be somewhat of a surprise in the film.
  11. shane_watson

    shane_watson Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 12, 2002
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    sounds like another ref. dvd to add to my collection,(man if this keeps up i will be broke)!.
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein
    Have edited that out, and I do apologize.
  13. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2001
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    Nice! August 20th is five days before I have to go back to school[​IMG] , but at least with this and Pulp Fiction my summer will go out with a bang.
  14. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

    Aug 26, 2001
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    This is a must buy for me. [​IMG]
  15. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

    Mar 13, 2002
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    You're the man Epstein, another great review. When I first saw Blade II in the theaters I hated it, but it has slowly grown on me in a weird sorta way. The DVD looks just simply nothing short of amazing though. Probably not a street date purchase, but if I see a pre-viewed copy a few weeks down the line I just might pick it up.
  16. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 2001
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    Ron, you just made my day. August 20th! There was a lot of confusion on the release date. I had heard it was moved back to Sept. 3rd again. Can't wait for this DVD.
  17. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

    Jan 25, 2001
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    I am not surprised in the least from this review. As I and others pointed out in a previous thread, this disc was gonna rock the house. My friend and I said that the moment we left the theater opening night.
    This disc cannot come soon enough, as I am anxiously awaiting watching the totally kick ass fight at the end, and if you havent seen this film yet boys and girls, this film makes the first one look like Stuart Little. I shit you not!

    And is the release date AUg20th, or Sept 3rd? DVDfile says 3rd, here says 20th. Some websites also say both! WHICH IS IT!?
  18. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

    Oct 10, 2000
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    I was amazed with BLADE 2. The film really pushed the standards of what I'd expect from a contemporary action film, and ended up being much better than I'd expected. (I was hoping for a pretty good movie, but got something close to a great one). That first swordfight in the warehouse with the two ninja vampires was amazing - I remember being especially impressed with the sound mix in the theater. Hearing that the DVD represents all this with accurate fidelity is very nice.

    The supplements also sound great. The 80+ minute doco alone sounds like a major extra, but seems to be the tip of the iceberg on this DVD. New Line deserve every kudo they get for producing state-of-the-art packages like this 2-disc set. BLADE 2 will be an essential puchase for me when it streets.

    Now, if this set rocks the house, what will New Line's FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 4-disc set be like? Bless their hearts...

    Almost forgot to mention (and Steve's post below reminded me) - yep, that was a really great review Ron! Well done!
  19. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Apr 25, 2000
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    Manchester, England
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    Steve Christou
    Bloody good review Ron!
    As a self-confessed extras junkie I'm all over this one, can't wait.[​IMG] [​IMG]
  20. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Jan 8, 1999
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    Blade, the first one, didn't do a lot for me. I liked it, it was fun, I got the DVD (still one of the best A/V transfers out there) but subsequently sold it on due to not watching it enough.

    I'm tempted to give Blade II a try, least of all for that stunning rack of extras on offer. I need to read up more on feedback of the movie, because I still don't bring myself to get a title on basis of A/V and extras alone.


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